Friday 20 September 2019

Unai Emery and Arsenal closing in on unwanted records

The new Gunners boss has kicked off his tenure with two defeats.

Unai Emery
Unai Emery

By Mark Mann-Bryans and Pete Fabianski, Press Association Sport

Arsenal’s Unai Emery needs to avoid defeat against West Ham on Saturday to avoid adding sharing an unwanted Premier League record.

The Spaniard saw the Gunners lose to Manchester City and Chelsea in his opening two games in charge and only two other foreign managers in the last decade have started their first job in the Premier League with three successive defeats.

Frank de Boer lost all four of his games in charge of Crystal Palace at the start of last season before being sacked after just 77 days in the job, the Eagles failing to score in that time.

The only other incoming manager to lose their first three matches since 2008 is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – whose ill-fated reign at Cardiff began with losses to West Ham, Manchester City and Manchester United.

City won 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium on the opening day of the campaign before a spirited display from Emery’s side still ended in a 3-2 loss at London rivals Chelsea last weekend.

In stark contrast to Emery, new Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri could become just the sixth foreign manager in the last 10 years to start with three wins, joining former Blues chiefs Antonio Conte and Carlo Ancelotti on the list.

Former Sevilla and Paris St Germain boss Emery said on Thursday his side “need” to win against the Hammers – and three points would prevent him joining De Boer and Solskjaer.

Even a draw would represent a poor start, with only 11 other managers coming in from overseas unable to mastermind a victory from their opening three league outings.

The most notable among them are former Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal, who started with defeat at home to Swansea before draws at Sunderland and Burnley, and current Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino whose Southampton tenure began with draws with Everton and Wigan sandwiching a defeat to United.

Defeat to West Ham, themselves without a win under Manuel Pellegrini – who began life at Manchester City with two victories from three – would also set an unwanted record for Arsenal as a club.

If Jack Wilshere returns to inspire his new club to victory in north London, Arsenal would become just the second side in the history of the Premier League to finish in the top six and begin the next campaign with three straight defeats – the only other team to do so being Aston Villa in 1997-98.

PA Media

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